Tanzania is a unique country in sub-Saharan Africa in having a single, widely used and accepted African national language that connects its entire population. Kiswahili – a language estimated to have at least 100 million speakers across the continent is mostly spoken there; it is also the only official international language of Africa that is really indigenous to the continent. Tanzania boasts highest proficiency in the language, although there is a craze amongst the country’s population thre...read more


This is a response to The Economist’s piece “Tanzania’s rogue president: Democracy under assault” published in the Africa section on 15 March 2018. Upon reading this piece, two questions come to mind: Why this? And why now? The Economist has covered Tanzania’s new presidency three times (May 2016, October 2017 and March 2018). All three pieces revolved around the increasing political repression and human rights violations under the new presidency. 


The commitment to the struggle of the working class was valorised, as African activists spent time with Brazilian rural farmers in their simple lives, but yet filled with abundant joy, love and humility. Within the walls of their homes, one could see a strong sense of hunger in striving for the burial of the downtrodden and barbaric system of capitalism. 

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Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli has captured global attention for his zealous pursuit of accountable and reformist government. But Magufuli is no revolutionary. His many years as a key minister in a neoliberal Tanzania tied to the apron strings of Empire speak volumes. Some of his current policies support the private sector while in fact pushing the poor deeper into destitution.


The progressive pan-African stance that guided Tanzania’s politics in the 1960s and 1970s is gone: its place has been taken by tribalism and chauvinistic nationalism. The political demands enshrined in the Peasant Manifesto of 2015 offer an alternative to the bankrupt politics of giant parties and the 5-year elections.